The 6 world No 1s to lose a match in this unique way as Novak Djokovic joins Andre Agassi, Pete Sampras on list

Shahida Jacobs
Novak Djokovic in action
Novak Djokovic, of Serbia, reacts during a match

Novak Djokovic’s troubled start to the 2024 tennis season continued when he went down against Tomas Mahac at the Geneva Open.

The 24-time Grand Slam winner went down in three sets against the Czech despite winning the second set 6-0.

In the process, Djokovic joined an unwanted list of world No 1s to suffer defeat in a match in unique circumstances.

He is now one of only six world No 1s to lose a match despite handing out a bagel to his opponent since the ATP Rankings were first introduced in 1974.

1. Pierre Barthes defeats Ilie Nastase in 1974

The first time a world No 1 won a set 6-0, but ended up losing the match was in 1974 when Romanian Nastase went down against Frenchman Barthes in the second round of the ATP 250 event in Salisbury.

Barthes, who reached a career-high of No 15, won the three-setter 6-3, 0-6, 6-4 and promptly lost in the next round.

READ MORE: The 6 men to spend a full calendar year as world No 1 on the ATP Tour

2. Ilie Nastase defeats Jimmy Connors in 1976

Two years later Nastase was on the winning end as he defeated then world No 1 Jimmy Connors in the semi-final of the Pepsi Grand Slam in Myrtle Beach.

American Connors, who spent the entire calendar year at No in 1976, wiped his rival in the opening set as he didn’t drop a game, but the Romanian bounced back to win 0-6, 6-4, 7-5 as he went on to win the title.

3. Ivan Lendl defeats Bjorn Borg in 1980

Bjorn Borg lost only two of his eight matches against Ivan Lendl with both of those coming during the 1980 season.

The pair met in the final of the Swiss Indoors in October and it was a best-of-five-set affair and, to be fair to the Swede, he produced an incredible comeback as he lost the opening two sets.

However, Lendl came away with the win despite losing his mojo in the fourth set as he won 6-3, 6-2, 5-7, 0-6, 6-4.

4. Wayne Ferreira defeats Pete Sampras 1998

Former world No 6 Wayne Ferreira had an impressive record against tennis great Pete Sampras as the American shaded the H2H 7-6.

One of the South African’s wins came in the second round of the 1998 Miami Open when he came back from a nightmare start to defeat the world No 1 0-6, 7-6 (7-6), 6-3.

Ferreira lost in the next round against American qualifier Steve Campbell.

5. David Ferrer defeats Andre Agassi in 2003

Five years after the Sampras defeat, his great rival Andre Agassi also went down in a similar fashion in his one and only encounter against David Ferrer at the Italian Open.

Just weeks after replacing Lleyton Hewitt at No 1, Agassi was on the receiving end of the three-set defeat to Ferrer in the first round.

To add insult to injury, Agassi was the defending champion and he lost the No 1 ranking to Hewitt again after the tournament as he went down 0-6, 7-6 (7-3), 6-4 against the Spaniard.

6. Tomas Mahac defeats Novak Djokovic in 2024

World No 1 Djokovic accepted a last-minute wildcard entry into the Geneva Open as he was looking for match time ahead of the 2024 French Open.

After winning his opening two matches in straight sets, the 24-time Grand Slam looked to have found his best form again.

He lost the opening set against the world No 47, but stormed back to take the second 6-0 before the Czech closed out the match with a 6-4, 0-6, 6-1 victory to reach his maiden ATP singles final.

“I have no reaction right now, I just fought for every ball,” Machac said after the match. “When you play against Novak you just hope. You just try to play your best and see what it looks like.”